Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Government doesn’t have billion pesos needed to deal with sargassum

As sargassum seaweed steadily invades the beaches of Quintana Roo, from Isla Holbox in the north to Xcalak near the Belize border, there is no money to do anything about it.

The federal government does not have the billion pesos needed to combat the massive waves of sargassum, revealed Pablo Careaga, the state representative of the tourism promotion fund. Fonatur.

There were hopes that Fonden, the natural disaster fund, could help. But this week it was discovered that under the agency’s rules, sargassum does not qualify as a natural disaster.

With winds and ocean currents driving the seaweed in to shore, it was forecast that by Saturday or Sunday the state’s entire coastline would lie under a bed of sargassum, with no immediate let-up in sight.

One report on Sunday said satellite images indicate the sargassum will continue to arrive over the next 72 hours.

Fonatur’s Careaga said lawmakers are working with businesses, organizations and other government agencies to find a way to free up funds to deal with the problem in the months ahead, which are forecast to see record amounts of the weed continuing to wash up on Quintana Roo shores.

“We are looking into the matter with the secretary of finance to see what other options might exist, but yes, we’re stuck on the funding.”

The Cancún sargassum monitoring network estimates that as much as one million tonnes of sargassum could finish up on the beaches this year. As of Saturday, one of the worst affected areas was Tulum, where a 25-meter strip of sargassum lined the beaches.

Quintana Roo Senator Marybel Villegas said Friday a multidisciplinary task force consisting of federal, state and local authorities, along with businesses, universities and NGOs will be created to address the problem.

Villegas said the problem is a priority for the federal government for its significant economic impact. She said that while an aid package of 240 million pesos (US $12.7 million) was pledged in August of last year, the measures implemented so far have been ineffective.

The Cancún-Puerto Morelos hotels association estimated that cleaning the beaches of sargassum will cost at least 700 million pesos.

Source: Reforma (sp), Milenio (sp), El Financiero (sp), Infobae (sp)

Have something to say? Paid Subscribers get all access to make & read comments.
Children raise their hands in a Mexican classroom

Opinion: The importance of PISA for the future of education in Mexico

1
For the first time in 25 years, Mexico is running the risk of not participating in the international PISA assessment. What does that mean for students?
El Nini, a man in his 30s or 40s, stands between two Mexican soldiers in front of a helicopter.

‘El Nini,’ alleged security chief for Sinaloa Cartel, extradited to US

9
The alleged mastermind behind the "Culiacanazo" is now in U.S. custody, where he might remain for the rest of his life.
Puebla residents shovel hail that seemingly struck out of nowhere on Saturday.

Mexico’s wild weather weekend: extreme heat, strong winds and hail

0
It was a weird weather weekend in central Mexico, which saw record-high temps, flooding, crazy winds and a hailstorm — all over the course of two days.